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Cyprus offers poor digital quality of life

comment ellinas globally cyprus is doing well, making it into the top 40, but there is vast room for improvement
Globally Cyprus is doing well, making it into the top 40, but there is vast room for improvement

By Charles Ellinas

A report on the Digital Quality of Life Index 2022’ ranks Cyprus 37th in the world by overall digital wellbeing, down two places since last year’s edition, falling from 35th to 37th.

Worryingly, within EU countries Cyprus ranks 26th out of 27. Only Greece ranks lower.

The report was published in September by the cybersecurity company Surfshark (https://surfshark.com/dql2022). It evaluates countries’ digital wellbeing based on five fundamental pillars: internet quality, e-government, e-infrastructure, internet affordability and e-security. The study covers 92 per cent of the global population, indexing 117 countries.

The key findings about Cyprus are as follows:

  • Cyprus’ internet affordability ranks 51st in the world. To afford mobile internet, Cypriots have to work 45 times more (3 min 39 seconds/month) than Israeli citizens, for whom the most affordable 1GB package costs only 5 seconds of work monthly. Meanwhile, fixed broadband costs Cypriot citizens around 2 hours 32 minutes of their working time each month.
  • Cyprus’ internet quality, considering internet speed, stability and growth, ranks 53rd in the world and is around the same as the global average.
  • On the positive side, since last year, mobile internet speed in Cyprus has improved by 49.9 per cent (53 Mbps), and fixed broadband speed has grown by 14.9 per cent (7.5 Mbps).
  • Compared to Greece, Cyprus’ mobile internet is two times faster, while broadband is 44 per cent faster.
  • Cyprus’ weakest ranking is internet quality, which needs to improve by 70 per cent to match the best-ranking country’s result (Chile’s).

Out of the five fundamental pillars, Cyprus’ worst score is for internet quality, ranking 53rd globally, and the best is for e-security, where it ranks 22nd.

Internet quality in Cyprus – that considers internet speed, stability, and growth – is comparatively mediocre, and not that affordable compared to global standards. Interestingly, Cyprus’ mobile internet ranks higher than fixed broadband in the global ranking, operating at 159.2 Mbps/s (7th globally), while the fixed broadband internet comes 66th (58 Mbps/s). For comparison, the fastest mobile internet in the world is UAE’s at 248 Mbps/s, while Singapore has the fastest fixed broadband internet at 261 Mbps/s.

However, compared to Israel, which has the most affordable mobile internet on the planet, Cypriots have to work 45 times more to pay for it, even though there has been a small improvement since last year.

Fixed broadband costs Cypriots around 2 hours 32 minutes of their working time each month. To afford it, Cypriots have to work 8 times more than Israeli citizens, for whom the most affordable package costs only 19 min of work monthly. Again, since last year, broadband internet has become more affordable in Cyprus, making people work 46 minutes less to afford fixed broadband internet service.

These are interesting findings that should help pinpoint the areas where Cyprus should concentrate to improve its ‘Digital Quality of Life’. Globally Cyprus is doing well, making it into the top 40, but there is vast room for improvement when compared to other EU countries and competitor countries like Israel.

At a time when Cyprus is putting increasing effort to improve inward investment and attract companies to make Cyprus their base of operations, there is an imperative need to improve its digital quality and its ranking among EU member states.

Dr Charles Ellinas is a Senior Fellow at the Global Energy Centre, Atlantic Council. Twitter: @CharlesEllinas

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